Comment by the Information and Press Department on the upcoming visit by French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian
On September 8, French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian will come to Moscow on a working visit as per the agreement reached in Versailles by President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of France Emmanuel Macron on May 29, 2017, and in the spirit of the meetings held between the Russian and French foreign ministers in Moscow on June 20 and in Paris on July 4.
The people of Russia and France have always felt mutual sympathy based on their historical and cultural affinity. It was for a reason that President Macron proposed during his meeting with the Russian President on May 29 that a permanent Franco-Russian civil society forum be created and called the Trianon Dialogue. The foreign ministers will continue working on this project at their upcoming talks.
The ministers will discuss current international matters, primarily opportunities for Russian-French cooperation in Syria, Libya and Ukraine.
France has always been Russia’s major partner. Our countries are permanent members of the UN Security Council, and in this capacity they bear special responsibility for international security and stability. By working together, they can bring down tensions in European affairs and at the global level, as well as in the numerous regional crises where Russia and France are involved in the settlement process in one way or another.
Positive dynamics have emerged recently in our bilateral trade. Russian-French trade increased by 14.1 per cent in 2016, compared to 2015, and reached $13.3 billion. Our bilateral trade continued to grow in 2017, including by 21.8 per cent in the first quarter, when it reached $5.9 billion. The Franco-Russian Economic, Financial, Industrial and Trade Council (CEFIC) resumed operation in January 2016. It held a regular meeting in Paris on March 14, 2017 and will convene for its next meeting in Moscow at the end of the year.
The volume of accrued French investment in Russia keeps growing. It increased by 43.9 percent in 2016, from $10 billion to $14.4 billion.
The Russian and French business communities have indicated their interest in keeping up cooperation and in reversing the negative trends related to the sanctions pressure applied by the EU. Not one of some 500 French companies has left Russia in the past three or four years, and not a single large joint project has been curtailed.